By Cait Kemp
This school year, students were finally able to be fully back in-person on campus taking classes, playing sports and participating in activities. To be with friends and teammates again, soaking in the college experience as best possible, has been nothing short of exciting.
However, the toll of almost two years off was much more than anyone expected. The work piled up and schedules were planned out by the minute. Suddenly, the boring hours sitting in the dorms were longed for during the days when it felt like there was no break in sight. Now by the 12th week of the semester, with spring break fully in the rearview, students are beginning to feel the stress add up as finals rapidly approach.
Tired, overworked and exhausted – all words that can be used to describe the feelings students are experiencing at this time of the semester.
There is a common sense of burnout.
“The burnout just comes from the overcommitment a lot of times, and then there’s just the general exhaustion. A 15 week semester is tough,” said Brian Krylowicz, Director of the Counseling Center.
Krylowicz sees a lot of students everyday, and throughout his years as a college counselor he has helped many deal with the struggles of burnout.
Burnout is not just simply due to school, but due to the demands of life. From clubs, sports, classes, and work, Springfield College students are no strangers to being well-rounded and involved in extracurriculars on campus.
The most obvious advice is to try to not put oneself in the position of feeling burned out again: Organize a schedule to complete assignments, space out daily tasks and allot time for everything. It seems simple enough when said, but actually being able to do that is the difficult part. So, how should this feeling of being burned out be remedied?
A piece of advice that Krylowicz would give to those struggling with this feeling is to remember why you are here and why you are doing this.
Everyone made a decision to come to Springfield College and study in a program that they are passionate about. Remembering that passion can help to get through the tough parts, whether it be a long class, a difficult exam or a tedious project.
Each assignment is just a step closer to accomplishing an end goal.
“I guarantee with your phone you know the exact power status or where the next power station would be to charge your phone. Burnout needs to be looked at the same way,” Krylowicz said. “You don’t want to wait until one percent to try to find a plug in.”
He also noted that it can be important to recognize that around this time of the year students might not be able to charge back to 100%. But knowing when you’re low on energy and need to get back in the right mindset will be key to staying out of the burnout zone.
Another important factor is knowing that even the most organized and punctual people also feel burnout at some points. It’s normal. Just like a phone, people need to recharge, too.
Speaking of phones, Krylowicz acknowledges the negative effects that constant connection to the world can have on mental health. Today’s generation of college students are accustomed to having phones and other devices that can connect them to others at any moment. Krylowicz sees the issues that may arise when being connected to stressors.
“There’s a psychological cause, I would say the difference is you carry guilt with you everywhere…you have [devices] with you all the time, and it’s right there and it dings at you. That just causes burn out,” Krylowicz said.
In the past, people would disconnect for the night, or for the weekend, and not have to answer work or school emails until the next time that was necessary to log on. Krylowicz’s point: Students today always have the ability to log on, leading to much more communication and constant stress about responsibilities.
Although there is no way to go back in time and live without mobile phones, Krylowicz suggests ditching phones and computers so students can relax worry-free.
“I think people look at their schedules with their ‘have-tos’… put something in there where you’re going to hang out with a friend, there’s no agenda. I get better when I just know I put in my life ‘this is where I’m having fun’,” Krylowicz said.
So, as the next five weeks come with the struggles and stress of the end of the year, cramming in every last bit of information possible, remember to add fun into the schedule. It might not make the problem disappear, but it will make the time memorable and rather than feeling like another bullet point on the to-do list, school can be fun again.
If you or someone you know is seeking help from the counseling center, contact them at (413) 748-3345 or email@example.com.
Photo Courtesy Springfield College